Ideally the unofficial mayor of a neighborhood has a dog that needs walking. They then have a habit of daily strolls during which they watch, observe, catch up with local gossip, pick up litter, attend to a little gardening and pruning, and add to their storehouse of community knowledge. And their dog is good at sniffing things out too.
I knew who one of the unofficial mayors was in my neighborhood, I'd enjoyed conversations with her, I'd picked up litter with her. Today while doing laundry, a miracle happened. The unofficial mayor visited with me, nothing really miraculous there, but another woman joined us, and I realized that I was in the presence of two unofficial mayors. I shut up and listened.
Respect the unofficial mayors and you will learn a lot about your community.
18 other couples have also been given the award this year.
"These couples have courageously stepped forward to represent all people in Washington in a matter of fundamental fairness and equality," said Suzanne Holland, an ACLU board member. "They have advanced the cause of equal marriage rights by speaking with the media and in public forums, opening themselves and their families to controversy and public scrutiny."
"From the early 1890s until 1933, trolleys ran up Harrison Hill, turned south on Percival Street, swung around the block on Fifth and then ran north on Rogers Street all the way to the Westside Grocery at Bowman Avenue."
Quote from Building a Capital City, Olympia's Past Revealed Through its Historic Architecture, written by Heather Lockman and researched by Shanna Stevenson
A school in N.J. has told all its students that if they blog, they will be suspended.
Chief Leschi, a Nisqually leader, was exonerated by a Washington Historical Court, 146 some years after he was killed.
This photo says it all, Tony Overman photo of Billy Frank Jr. and Cynthia Iyall, murder conviction of Chief Leschi overturned. (Update: photo link is dead)
Amidst this whirl of disorder, I learned three crucial things. One, I wasn't going to kill myself. Second, I had far more power over my fate than any doctor ever let on. Third, the existentialists weren't joking: The world is truly absurd.
But this story is good. The Burke Museum in Seattle is being aired out. Concerns about serious problems with the collection, including possible illegal doings, are being addressed.
And when the computer breaks, when we have to discuss an insurance claim, when we have to deal with yet another unpleasant phone call, what do we do? We yell.
We don't just raise the volume of our voice. We really get into it, racist insults, intentional cruelty directed at the person on the other end of the line. A person who is just doing their job, a job that shouldn't have to include dealing with Ugly Americans.
The truth is this: It is the ordinary among us - the European American, middle-class, straight, Christian people who see themselves as just regular folks - who have the greatest power in our society to end discrimination.
It is a power so great, in fact, it is as though they have a super-hero costume on under their clothes emblazoned with the word ALLY! in gold letters. And once they decide to duck into the nearest phone booth, rip off their ordinary guy/gal disguise and dare to align themselves with someone unlike them they are unstoppable.
During a candlelit vigil for the dead of this war recently, I had a great conversation with an older white man who had helped register black voters during Freedom Summer . He worked hard against intolerance and still does in whatever capacity he can.
He told me that he doesn't feel like he has done enough, ever, not back then, and not now. That gave me pause. I thanked him for his work in the past but I don't know that the thanks sunk in. It was already time to talk about the next vigil, the next protest.